USA TODAY US Edition

MAC MILLER HAS LOVE IN MIND ON ‘DIVINE’

Sex, com­mit­ment fo­cus of Pittsburgh rap­per’s fourth al­bum

- Pa­trick Ryan

Five years ago, Mac Miller rapped about par­ties ( All Around the World) and pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls ( Don­ald Trump) on his breakthrou­gh mix­tape Best Day

Ever, whose bois­ter­ous rhymes and home­spun beats made him a sta­ple of col­lege playlists.

Fast for­ward to 2016, and the Pittsburgh na­tive is de­cid­edly more ma­ture in both his sound and lyrics: mulling mat­ters of sex and com­mit­ment on his eclec­tic fourth al­bum, The Divine Fem­i­nine. The con­cept of Femi

nine, out Fri­day, stems from “love and the uni­verse, and how they work to­gether,” says Miller, 24. Chan­nel­ing his emo­tions and a so-called “fe­male en­ergy” into his song­writ­ing, he saw the al­bum as an op­por­tu­nity to “re­ally jump in and ( be) vul­ner­a­ble. Just rap­ping my way out of sit­u­a­tions is awe­some and it’s al­most like I can hide cer­tain emo­tions, but this is just let­ting it all out.”

The re­sults are more amorous, can­did cuts such as Soul­mate, a woozy ode to a ce­les­tial sweet­heart, and Cin­derella, fea­tur­ing Ty Dolla $ign, about a long-awaited night of pas­sion. Miller says the most spe­cial to him is My Fa

vorite Part, a duet with Ari­ana Grande that “as far as vul­ner­a­bil­ity goes, takes the cake.”

Fa­vorite, the ru­mored cou­ple’s sec­ond song to­gether af­ter Grande’s The Way in 2013, al­lows Miller to flex his pipes as he con­fesses his feel­ings to a ca­sual lover. Go­ing note for note with the pow­er­house pop star, “I’m not go­ing to out-sing her in any dimension of the uni­verse; it’s not go­ing to hap­pen,” he laughs. When asked if he wrote the song about Grande, Miller cagily ad­mits, “Yeah, but I was writing about cer­tain as­pects of our re­la­tion­ship from a long time ago.”

Grande has proudly stated in in­ter­views and on so­cial me­dia that she is a fem­i­nist. As for whether he iden­ti­fies as one as well, the rap­per says, “Yeah, sure. I don’t know what any­thing means by that term — I’m just a re­spect­ful hu­man be­ing and I love love. At the same time, I ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­thing. I’m not like, ‘Man, rap mu­sic needs to be more re­spect­ful to women.’ I’m not say­ing that. I don’t know what term that makes me, I’m just speak­ing from my per­spec­tive right now. I just love women, baby.”

That af­fec­tion comes through in Fem­i­nine’s sen­sual first sin­gle Dang!, in which he and ris­ing rap­per An­der­son .Paak at­tempt to woo back their women over a hyp­notic funk groove. The au­da­cious an­them is a sa­vory taste of what to ex­pect on the rest of the al­bum, which also in­cludes jazz­in­flected col­lab­o­ra­tions with Ken­drick La­mar (clos­ing track God is Fair) and CeeLo Green (the soul­ful We).

Fem­i­nine ar­rives just a year af­ter Miller’s well-re­ceived GO: OD

AM, which he sup­ported on tour through the spring. He is now gear­ing up for an­other three­month North Amer­i­can trek, which kicks off Sun­day in his home­town Pittsburgh and is sure to in­clude many new fans.

“I make so much mu­sic, so it’s hard for me to gauge what the per­cep­tion of me is,” Miller says. “I for­get that peo­ple don’t know that I do all th­ese things, so I’m re­ally ex­cited about that. It’s in­ter­est­ing to see peo­ple see­ing me do stuff for the first time and it’s in­spir­ing to con­tinue that growth. I’ve been grow­ing in all dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions and I’m re­ally en­joy­ing this par­tic­u­lar jour­ney.”

 ?? GL ASKEW II ?? Mac Miller, 24, re­turns Fri­day with his fourth al­bum, The Divine Fem­i­nine.
GL ASKEW II Mac Miller, 24, re­turns Fri­day with his fourth al­bum, The Divine Fem­i­nine.
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 ?? JEFF KRAVITZ, FILMMAGIC ?? Miller and Ari­ana Grande col­lab­o­rate on his new al­bum.
JEFF KRAVITZ, FILMMAGIC Miller and Ari­ana Grande col­lab­o­rate on his new al­bum.

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